, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 153-161

Biogenesis of mitochondrial porin: The import pathway

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Summary

We review here the present knowledge about the pathway of import and assembly of porin into mitochondria and compare it to those of other mitochondrial proteins. Porin, like all outer mitochondrial membrane proteins studied so far is made as a precursor without a cleavble ‘signal’ sequence; thus targeting information must reside in the mature sequence. At least part of this information appears to be located at the amino-terminal end of the molecule. Transport into mitochondria can occur post-translationally. In a first step, the porin precursor is specifically recognized on the mitochondrial surface by a protease sensitive receptor. In a second step, porin precursor inserts partially into the outer membrane. This step is mediated by a component of the import machinery common to the import pathways of precursor proteins destined for other mitochondrial subcompartments. Finally, porin is assembled to produce the functional oligomeric form of an integral membrane protein wich is characterized by its extreme protease resistance.